Friday, June 17, 2011

Farm family makes soda.

i preface this post with the understanding that making soda does not necessarily scream "FARM!!" but its part of that whole "from-scratch" "diy" mentality that goes into urban farming.  Therefore it is fair game and i get to post about it.

Also, its my blog and i can post about anything i want to. so there.  thhhppppppp *raspberry blowing*

Ok so yesterday was our "day off" (i had to work in the evening so not a REAL day off).  We usually spend our days off milling around places looking at cool stuff.  Yesterday we went to the home brew store again because i wanted to take some time to look around, see if i couldnt pick up a new hobby.  cause God knows i need more hobbies.

Here I am outside the store.  The employees are super friendly and generally very interested in any weird cool thing you are doing.  So i like to tell them about my farm and chickens and bread/cheese making. They always at least pretend to be interested. Which is nice.  The guy told Luis and i that we didnt look like typical hippies.  I thought it was funny.

Anywho, while we were there i asked about their soda making kits.  This is a soda brewing kit, not so much a "get some sugar water and add CO2 to it" thing. its a little more "beer-y" than that.  I don't really like beer at all, and i wanted to do something fun that the kids could get involved in.

So, we asked a bunch of questions and eventually ended up leaving the store with one of these:

Essentially a 5 gallon bucket with a spigot on it. This is to funnel all of the soda into the bottles.  It also comes with your choice of soda extract (We picked Red Birch Beer! Yum! Sorta like rootbeer in taste), and a yeast (the guy recommended campaign yeast so that is what we got).

The first step in the process is to take 1/4 tsp of your yeast and dissolve it in 1/2 c. warm water.  The set it aside.

So the next part of the process is to heat up 1/2 a gallon of water to 130*F.  Then you remove from heat and dissolve five cups of sugar in it.  Yes you read that correctly, five cups.  Makes you think twice about your soda doesn't it? Except your soda has HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) instead of sugar.  I'm told that HFCS if worse for you, but for the life of me im not sure why.  That nice lady on the corn syrup commercial says its nutritionally the same as sugar.  And shes got a popsicle. so i believe her.  But either way i put 5 c of real sugar into that water, along with 2 oz of the extract.
Next, you take the pot and put it into a shallow bath of ice water to lower the temperature to 90*F.  You should stir it during this time, because sometimes the sugar you thought was dissolved will suddenly have crystallized on the bottom of the pot, just because it got cold.  Jerk sugar. I knew i should have used HFCS. Drat.  Once its cooled down you add in your yeast mixture.  Then you need to put it in the big bucket and add water until the whole thing is 2.5 Gallons.   For us this meant adding an additional 1.75 gallons or so.  a little less i think.

Then is the fun part.  You should have some sterilized bottles laying around.  If you dont, the home brew store has some, and they will let you buy them, but then you'll have to sterilize them yourself.  then you connect your little hose bit to your spigot.  The end of the hose bit looks like this:
That little nose that sticks down there should be pressed flat against the bottom of the bottle.  It works like a coffee maker where it needs pressure on it in order to open up the flow.  then as the bottle gets close to being completely full you just pull down on the bottle, the pressure lets up on the nose and the flow stops so you can take the hose out without it squirting everywhere.  There is also a nozzle on the spigot that turns off the flow from the bucket.  This little regulator guy will only protect you from whats built up in the hose.

the switch out.

The first bottle

So easy a child in her underpants could do it
Aaliyah helps out!

So after you have all your bottles filled, you have to cap them, and wipe them down (as they are bound to have sticky stuff all over the sides!) and put them in a box:

Now store the box sideways, and you just wait for a few days.  In this case we will probably be waiting about two days.  So the birch beer should be ready in time for maggie's birthday.  

You might be wondering, what happens in those two days? is this flat soda? what in the heck is going on here?  and i will tell you.  So you remember the yeast we put in there?  just like with real beer, yeast is responsible for the CO2 in this soda.  The best way it was ever described to me (by my mom's fake husband) was "yeast eats sugar and poops CO2.  So essentially the yeast is in there burping and farting up a storm to make my birch beer nice and bubbly!  

You will never look at beer the same way again will you?  Burping farting yeast is all you'll see when you look at it.  I'm glad i could give you that visual.  

Anywho, so thats pretty much it.  I'll let you know how it turn out since we intend to drink it for Maggie's birthday party tomorrow.  I'm going to make some home made vanilla bean ice cream so we can have birch beer floats and let the kids chase the chickens.  Birthday fun for everyone!

I could even invite that other lady from the HFCS commercials to maggie's party!

1 comment:

  1. My fake husband wants every one to be aware that if it is indeed actual beer you are brewing those little yeasts not only burp and fart but they also pee alcohol. Busy little guys! Just sayin'.